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At rally attended by Kanshi Ram's sister, Bhim Army chief says will fight against Modi in Varanasi

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

addressed a rally with BSP founder Kanshi Ram's sister and announced that he will contest the Lok Sabha elections against from the seat, a move that is likely to upset the SP-BSP alliance in

The Bhim Army, which has been trying to mobilise Dalits in Uttar Pradesh, also told that it will field a candidate against and "wherever there's a need of a strong nominee against the BJP".

At the rally organised to mark the 85th birth anniversary of founder Kanshi Ram, Chandrashekhar said he would ensure that PM Modi is not re-elected to the Lok Sabha from

"I will challenge in .. to protect the Constitution and the rights of Dalits. I do not want to become an or MLA. Had that been the case, I would have chosen a reserved seat," he said.

"After the came to know that we are going to challenge him in Varanasi, he started washing the feet of sanitation workers in Allahabad," the said.

The BJP is yet to announce the constituency from where Modi will contest the upcoming election.

Chandrashekhar alleged that the government's decision to give 10 per cent quota to the general category poor is an attack on the Constitution and is aimed at serving the BJP's interests.

Recalling that founder Mulayam Singh Yadav's comment in Parliament that Modi should become again, he asked Akhilesh Yadav to answer if his party will protect the rights of Dalits if they voted for it.

The Dalit leader also said the SP-BSP alliance should "send (Kanshi Ram's sister) Swarn Kaur to Parliament".

told that they will field a candidate against Irani and "also on the seats where the SP-BSP alliance is not strong enough to defeat the BJP".

Asked if the Dalit group will support the Congress, he said the Rahul Gandhi-led party did not fight for Dalits for the last 70 years. "The and the BJP are two sides of the same coin".

In what is being seen as a Dalit outreach move, for eastern UP Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday met Chandrashekhar at a

Until now, the Bhim Army had been saying that it won't contest elections. It had welcomed the SP-BSP alliance in the state and said it would support anyone who's ready to take on the BJP and fight for Dalit rights.

The Chandrashekhar-led group shot to limelight during the May 2017 clashes between Dalits and upper caste Thakurs in Saharanpur.

Chandrashekhar was arrested after the clashes. Though he was granted bail by the High Court, the arrested him under the stringent National Security Act. He was released in September 2018 after 16 months in jail.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 15 2019. 18:11 IST